This just in from Boothbay, Maine: fatted cow near death

Dateline: Sat 16 Dec 2006

Joe Gelarden is a former star reporter for the Star. He's a guy the newsroom and the city both loved and respected -- a Marine, tough, a favorite with cops, politicians and readers for his honesty, fairness and his many years on beats, but tender enough to call wife Susan "my bride" and write a first-person account of a deer bounding down Fall Creek Parkway.

He's a reporter's reporter, and he's been following Star wars from his home in Maine. Here's what the man has to say, for the record:

"It is a wonder though, that the same management that spent so much time preaching ethics and made it a firing offense if you stepped a bit off the reservation, is now advocating doing the very thing they preached against. Do they think that people forget?

"If they have not done it already, they may have just killed the fatted cow.

"I learned the hard way that if you are honest with the public, they

will believe you. But once you tell a fib, all the tons of paper and

truckloads of ink won't bring your credibility back.

"If folks don't believe the news stories in the paper (or on the web), do you really think they will buy the products that are advertised in its pages?

"Also, do you really think that a top reporter or editor, one who can go toe to toe with a crooked cop or the mayor or governor or some other powerful figure, will back down when backed into a corner by some out of town feather merchant?"

As Joe says and Judy Wolf and the Guild have noted, this cuts to the heart of journalism. It's the ethics, stupid.

comments: ruth@ruthholladay.com

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